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MLP 08-02-2009 09:53 PM

Replacing drywall without removing tile through an interior wall
We recently discovered water damage in the wall of the tiled shower that abuts an interior wall. I opened the wall from the paint (not tile) side and found that the drywall (or greenboard or whatever they used 40 years ago) was wet and removed it. We also identified the source of the leak and fixed that .

However, now we have a wall of tile that is not held up with anything beside the grout and whatever adhesive was used (and the the non damaged pieces of board - the damaged piece was about 2.5 feet square).

I know the obvious answer is to retile the wall or try to remove the tiles one by one, clean them and reuse them. The first options is not financially feasible now and for the second one - I highly doubt I would get through the process without breaking some of the tiles.

Since the tile is against a small interior wall is there a way to attach the new greenboard or waterproof board from the paint side of the wall. I know I can follow the normal steps for attaching it to the studs (i think) but is there a way to reattach it to the tile.

I am looking for a fix that will last at least 1-2 years.

Thanks a lot - I am stumped!

Bud Cline 08-02-2009 10:47 PM

THAT is the craziest idea I have ever heard. Sorry I got nothing for ya along those lines.:eek:

JazMan 08-03-2009 12:14 AM

Spray the backing with foam, but make sure it isn't the type that expands too much. I don't know, it might work. But, I can't believe the situation is like you've described. :confused1:

Are you sure the tiles were glued direct to the green board? I don't thing so. If they were direct on the GB, the tiles would have fallen or bowed out long ago. I think the tiles were installed using a mud job. Can you confirm you can or can not see the backs of the tiles from behind. You may have lath then about 1/2" of mortar base then the tiles bonded to this mortar.

What happens in 1-2 years?


Scuba_Dave 08-03-2009 07:37 AM

Do you have a picture?
I'd have to agree that there must be something else in there that the tile is installed on

I guess it is possible....if they had a thick layer of cement 1st

If you are redoing the bath in 2 years I think I'd get some thinset
BRACE the tiles in the bathroom with a large flat board/sheathing/plywood
Then layer on the thinset on the tile
Then press a new piece of backer board in place onto the thinset
Then secure wood strapping across the patch
Best bet would be connecting the straps to the 2x4 studs with brackets
Don't drill into the existing sheetrock where the tile is !!

Michael Thomas 08-03-2009 07:56 AM

As others have noted, a picture would help - could be that the paper facing of the water resistant drywall is the only substrate holding everything together.

If this is just a "temporary" repair you may be able to get by adhering a layer of cement fiber backer board to the back of the tile with construction adhesive, and then adhering the backer board to the studs with a bead of adhesive - a sufficiently thick layer of construction adhesive may be able bridge irregularities in the surface you are bonding to, and then set up "hard" enough to hold everything together.

This of course is very wrong as as a ceramic tile installation technique, but it might be the simplest way to hold everything together for two years.

Bud Cline 08-03-2009 06:14 PM

Tear it out and start over.:)

MLP 08-06-2009 11:35 AM

Thanks for all the feedback. I opened up the board covering the hole I made and there was good news and bad news.

The good news is that the hole is smaller than I thought - more 24" by 12" (right around all the fixtures for the bath) but the bad news is that you can very clearly see the back of the tiles in that spot. The moisture must have crumbled whatever was originally there (the bathroom is about 40+ years old)

I tried to take a picture but with the flash bouncing off the copper pipe and the darkness in the wall they were not at all distinct or helpful.

The reason we are looking for a temporary situation is that in a couple of years we will redo the whole bath but are not in an position to do that right now.

Thanks for all of your help.

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